5 Tips for Optimising training for a Masters Swimmers by Coach Hannah Miley

1.Train Smarter not harder 

It’s important Masters swimmers feel they have a good balance with their everyday life out and their training commitments in the pool. Every day will be different, we cannot avoid stress but there is a certain level that we can cope with. Once it tips over that level, we have to consider the impact this has both physically and mentally. Is it worth pushing through this stress fatigue by training harder? As we get older it becomes more challenging to maintain muscle mass, flexibility, and endurance. We increase our risk of illness and injury by pushing through and not considering recovery. Work with your body not against it, it’s ok to challenge yourself but know the fine line between challenge and struggle. Don’t let yourself get to that struggle if you do allow yourself time to recover and decrease the intensity! Pre plan your workouts (there is no limit to how far in advance you plan) and be prepared to make adaptations depending on how you feel on that day. It’s important to allow yourself recovery sessions and alter the intensity to fit your needs. Being fatigued can also impact your motivation. Train smarter not harder! 

2. Train regularly 

 

Swimming every now and then can make it difficult to improve on any technical elements and fitness levels. Frequent sessions can help you improve your endurance, muscle strength, muscle memory and enhance your overall fitness. You do not need to swim 10 x 2hr sessions a week but like with all forms of exercise regular training is beneficial. Training for at least 30mins 3 times a week can be a great starting point. 

3. Count you Strokes 

Counting your strokes can help with your technique, allow you to work on your efficiency. The longer the distance per stroke the fewer strokes taken per lap. Swimming isnt a strength contest. When swimming fast it is more about overcoming the resistance that the water presents than trying to muscle your way down the pool. When you are mindful of how many strokes it takes to perform a lap of the pool you are dialed in on being as efficient as possible. If that number starts increase (when not swimming fast) it could be an indicator of fatigue or technique starting to slip. Counting strokes keeps you focused on technique and form, if practiced often enough it will become second nature. There is a point where if you are over gliding just to reduce the stroke count this can sacrifice your speed and momentum. This takes practice to know what your count is to give you optimal speed and momentum.

4. Warm up & cool down 

In any sport warm ups and cool downs are incredibly important, it is however even more so as a masters swimmers. The hardest part of swimming can be just getting into the pool! A warm up is both a physical and a mental process that can vary from person to person. Mentally we need to be in the right mind set and we need to physically be ready for the demands our body will be put through. It is not defined by distance or minutes but rather by what kind of swimming you do and to a certain degree how you feel. When the body is properly warmed up you will be able to change swimming speeds more effortlessly. Some days you will need more laps to warm up, others less laps. Some require more of a land based pre requisite to activate the muscles prior to jumping in the pool. There are also factors that can impact what you do for a warm up such as how much sleep you’ve had, what you’ve eaten, the water temperature, the time of day you are training and your age. Finding a warm up that is suitable for you is important don’t be afraid to try a couple of options. When swimming at high intensities it is important to implement a good cool down to help facilitate the removal of any lactate that has been built up within your body and help with recovery. It’s easy to miss doing a cool down but it is so important to allow your body to start adapting/recovering from that training session. A cool down can help you reset and refocus your mind, you can use the time for self reflection on your training session or race! It ultimately helps your body return to a state of rest. If you run out of time at the end of a training session, or a venue does not offer a second pool for cool downs post race, you can alternatively do land based exercises such as walking or spending a bit of time on an exercise bike (if available), certain stretches, massage and the best form of recovery – sleep!

5. Nutrition 

Good nutrition is really important for maximising training and racing performance. Paying attention to your nutrition is hard work especially if you have a busy lifestyle and are on the go all the time! Good nutrition becomes more and more important as an athlete as we get older. We don’t have the ability o eat anything and everything that you had as a teenager so a good diet is especially important. Sometimes we cannot get everything from the food we eat, there are options to supplement your diet however it is important to discuss this with either a nutritionist or health professional. Many of us will be deficient in some key vitamins and minerals, like magnesium and Vitamin B12. There is a lot of talk about recovery, it is the difference between good and great performances. It enables your to train well and recover faster with poor nutrition it will be difficult to achieve this. Women in particular need more protein as they get older to maintain muscle. Eating sufficient carbohydrate and protein is essential for the basic building blocks for energy and muscle repair, fruit and vegetables are also key as they contain the invaluable nutrients and minerals to support your body. Don’t under estimate how important a good nutritious diet is for an active masters athlete. 

Embrace a comprehensive swimming experience as you learn new techniques and refine existing ones at SC Rijeka Masters Swimmers led by our esteemed coach, Hannah Miley.

Coach Miley will guide you through the intricacies of efficient technique, enhancing your overall swimming performance. With personalized attention tailored to your needs, you’ll refine your strokes and achieve your personal goals. Immerse yourself in a world-class swimming experience at Swimming Pools Kantrida, a premier aquatic facility in Croatia.

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